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Opportunity Awaits: Long-Term Trends for Long-Term Career Planning

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Looking for a job? Why not make the most of it? Don’t just look for a job — use the process as an opportunity to build a long-term plan, too.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released its job growth projections for the ten-year period between 2016 and 2026, and the results can be instructive for anybody pondering their next step.

We spoke with Aerotek market research experts to get an idea of what long-term trends will have the most impact on job seekers. Their advice? Keep an eye on the following:

More job openings, especially in certain fields

Overall, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that hiring will increase by over 7 percent in the coming years.

However, that growth won’t impact all industries evenly. Aerotek Market Research Analyst Kerry Heffner says, “Certain occupations can expect substantially more growth than others.”

A lot of the growth will happen in just a few industries. Leading the way are the following:

  • Healthcare: just under 4 million new jobs projected
  • Professional and business services: over 2 million new jobs projected
  • Leisure and hospitality>: over 1.3 million new jobs projected
  • Construction: over 800,000 new jobs projected
  • State and local government: nearly 800,000 new jobs projected

Combined, the five industries listed above account for almost 80 percent of estimated new jobs in the coming years.

As Heffner says, “If you’re looking to change careers and job security is what you’re after, look into these sought-after jobs first.&rdqu

Wage and experience growth opportunities may soon be on the rise

The growth within certain industries means growth for qualified employees—in both wages and job experience.

Aerotek Analyst Eddie Beaver says, “Competition for labor is higher than ever before, and there is momentum for wage growth among lower-skilled and lower-paid workers. Nearly all companies in growth industries are hiring, expanding, or replacing lost talent, so the market can be fiercely competitive and very rewarding for many job-seekers or job-switchers.”

But what does that mean for the average job seeker? Beaver explains, “Apply to different industries, or to positions outside your immediate skills background and experience. With companies becoming less picky, there are plenty of opportunities for people to start entirely new careers or make a lateral move with more upside.”

How to jump over the skills gap

The “skills gap” phenomenon, where employers have had difficulty finding qualified employees to fill available positions, isn’t going away.

Ways to leap over the skills gap:

  • Finish your degree: The BLS> monitors median wages by educational attainment level, and the greatest percentage jump in wages occurs when those with some college or an associate’s degree go on to complete a bachelor’s.
  • Certifications: For those a little further advanced in their careers, there are a number of professional certification programs available in a wide array of industries and specialties that can get you noticed while saving some of the time and money required by a degree program.
  • Experience>: Even as employer flexibility regarding your relevant experience increases, there’s often an “entry level position: experience required” hurdle to clear when looking to get your foot in the door in a new field. >Contract work and working with a recruiting partner> can be great ways to get a foot in the door.

For job seekers, now is an excellent time to invest in your long-term future by pursuing options that give you the greatest opportunity for growth.

More are working remotely

What about regional differences in hiring? What if you live in a place with sluggish employment growth?

There’s good news on that front as well. The overall “skills gap” is making employers find for new ways to attract talent, and one method they’ve found is offering perks and flexible work schedules. Of particular interest to job seekers is the growing number of employment opportunities that offer telecommuting as an option.

This can spell very good news for job seekers for whom remote work is an option, as they can combine the savings of residing in areas where cost of living is more reasonable with wages from areas where hiring is more competitive.

Every employees has unique needs. For many, a steady and reliable work schedule is still what’s most desired. Be up front with an employer about your wants and needs, and help them understand why you are more valuable than your competition.

It’s never a bad time to make a long-term plan. Staying on top of the trends should be a big part of your planning.

If you’re looking for a little guidance, ask around! Experts, such as the ones you’ll find at Aerotek offices across the country, are available to help you come up with a plan for how to address long-term trends in hiring.

If you’re looking for a job, visit our job board to find your next great opportunity. Create a free career account today to customize your search. And consider reaching out to an expert career advisor: Aerotek recruiters are available to provide advice you can use.